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March 20, 2007
The fall-out from Pakistan's shock defeat to Ireland and resulting elimination from the World Cup has now taken full toll with the news that Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, has handed in his resignation, followed swiftly by the national selection committee.
Ashraf offered his resignation as chairman of the PCB first, a board spokesman confirmed to Cricinfo. "The chairman handed in his resignation on Monday evening, faxing it to the President of Pakistan (also Patron of the PCB)."
He added that the chairman had "accepted his responsibility for the World Cup debacle. Public reaction has been so strong after that that he decided to take this action. He always wanted to really begin his work after the World Cup." Ashraf had only been at the helm for five months, having taken over from Shaharyar Khan who resigned in October.
The chairman, the official continued, cited building pressure on him after Pakistan's shock elimination from the tournament following a disastrous defeat to Ireland, a loss which has sparked outrage in the country.
Though the resignation has yet to be confirmed, it is thought to be but a formality now. Ashraf himself is away in interior Sindh and is presently uncontactable by phone. "The status quo remains for now as far as the PCB is concerned," added the official, when asked how the board was running without a chairman, a captain and a coach. "But changes will no doubt occur in the next few days and a new management will be brought in."
Taking a lead from the chairman, the national selection committee too has tendered its resignation. The resignation was formally submitted by Wasim Bari, the chairman of selectors, on behalf of the entire committee. Bari reportedly stated that the committee's tenure was up to the World Cup and that it shared responsibility for Pakistan's dismal performance.
With Inzamam-ul-Haq stepping down as captain and retiring from ODIs and the tragic death of coach Bob Woolmer, it means, within three days, Pakistan cricket's top heirarchy has been completely swept aside. Culls and purges don't come much cleaner and as Pakistan's World Cup campaign ends on March 21, yet another new era for Pakistan cricket will no doubt begin the same day.
Meanwhile Pakistan media manager Pervez Mir denied that the team would be detained in Jamaica till investigations into Woolmer's death had been completed.
"Any official can stay back until the process of taking the body to Cape Town in South Africa is completed. We are responsible people and will cooperate in the process," Mir said. "Initially we thought a family member of Woolmer would come to take the body but none of them will be coming. So this is our responsibility to take the body to South Africa. Some of the players are also keen to attend the funeral,"
Mir requested that speculations over Woolmer's death be ended. "There is some irresponsible speculation," he said. "We will let everyone know the result of the investigations."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.